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      "I hope this thing'll be brought to a focus to-day, and the question settled as to who shall occupy this piece of real estate," said Shorty, as he and Si109 finished a generous breakfast, filled their boxes and pockets with cartridges, and began knocking the dried mud off their clothes and rubbing the rust from their guns. "I want them gents in brown clothes to clear out and leave. It frets me to see them hangin' 'round. They're bad neighbors."

      "Some of them Kentucky fellers," said another, "found a sheep in the briars and killed it. I traded 'em my silk handkerchief for a hunk o' the meat. I'm going to cook a slice for you, Si."CHAPTER IV BESIDE THE LITTLE TEMPLE

      Late in October it was rumored that some of the French ships in the river above Quebec were preparing to run by the batteries. This was the squadron which had arrived in the spring with supplies, and had lain all summer at Batiscan, in the Richelieu, and at other points beyond reach of the English. After nearly a month of expectancy, they at length appeared, anchored off Sillery on the twenty-first of November, and tried to pass the town on the dark night of the twenty-fourth. Seven or eight of them succeeded; four others ran aground and were set on fire by their crews, excepting one which was stranded on the south shore and abandoned. Captain Miller, with a lieutenant and above forty men, boarded her; when, apparently through their own carelessness, she blew up. [822] Most of the party were killed by the explosion, and the rest, including the two officers, were left in a horrible condition between life and death. Thus they remained till a Canadian, venturing on board in search of plunder, found them, called his neighbors to his aid, carried them to his own house, and after applying, with the utmost kindness, what simple remedies he knew, went over to Quebec and told of the disaster. Fortunately for themselves, the sufferers soon died.

      "You jest kin if I do," muttered Si, scraping off some of the superabundant mud, and resuming his29 seat on the rail. "This dog's cured of suckin' eggs." He set the butt of his gun down in front of him, clasped his hands around the barrel, leaned his head on them, and went to sleep.

      "You'll see, sir... The next witness is a taxi-driver who was a friend of Spike Talley's. He will testify that at this time Talley came to his garage every evening and engaged the witness to drive him up to the Hotel Warrington. I could prove by waiters in the hotel that Talley dined there every eveningthey have identified his photograph, but Mr. Corveth says it will hardly be necessary, because the next witness, Mr. Slaughter, would carry more weight.

      "Shorty, if we only git out o' this" but Si found he hadn't any wind to spare to finish the sentence. We must leave to the reader's imagination the good resolutions as to his future conduct that were forming in Si's mind at this critical juncture. He saw the awful consequences of yielding to the influence of that alluring young woman and her seductive dinner. What he had read about Adam and the trouble Eve got him into, in pretty much the same way, flashed before him. It was a good time to resolve that he wouldn't do so any more.


      "Mr. Riever wants to say good-by to you."


      "But if I was his mark, why didn't he take a shot direct at me?" said Don.In due time the Scroggs plantation was reached. A hasty examination showed that there was an abundance of corn on the place to load the wagons, and arrangements for a sudden transfer of the property were quickly made. A third of the force established a cordon of picket-posts around the marauding party, covering all the avenues of approach, with re serves at convenient points. The remainder of the troops stacked arms and entered briskly upon the work of confiscation.